A star of our time?

The American poet Robert Lowell is quoted as saying that if a writer lives long enough, he will see his reputation rise and fall – twice. In the case of Carson McCullers, an American writer of the deep South, Lowell’s thesis was never proved because she didn’t live long enough. McCullers (born Lula Carson Smith) […]

Old age ain’t no place for sissies

“First houses are the grounds of our first experience.  Crawling about at floor level, room by room, we discover laws that we will apply later to the world at large,” the Australian writer, David Malouf, has written in his memoir 12 Edmondstone Street.  “The house is a field of dense affinities laid down, each one, […]

The light hand of history

Éilís Ní  Dhuibhne is a shamefully under-rated writer. A true polymath, she writes in English and Irish, and across the genres – young adult, crime, and literary fiction in both the short story and the novel forms. Her second Selected Stories volume, just published by Dalkey Archive Press, demonstrates the range and breadth of her […]

Igniting sparks

  Where do stories come from?  Most of the time, superstitiously, we don’t ask. And usually, it’s hard to say, because the process is so chaotic when it’s happening, and in retrospect seems too random to catalogue. But in the case of  my story, “Lockjaw”, which appears in the latest issue of The Lonely Crowd […]

The ghost of the good priest

Must all clergy automatically be distrusted because of the Catholic church’s abominable record of sexual and physical abuse?  What about the good priest? Don’t honorable nuns exist? That’s the question Conor O’Callaghan implicitly asks in his recently paperbacked novel, Nothing on Earth.  (It’s a very pertinent question given the heated controversy of recent days about the new national […]

Blowing my own trumpet

On a recent visit to Amsterdam for a reading event, I had cause to do a search for myself on Google Netherlands. (It was for a purely pragmatic reason – honest! I needed to check the cover price of my latest book, Prosperity Drive, just out in paperback). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, according […]